Minneapolis mystery project revealed

Truthfully, it’s not a mystery to the city of Minneapolis.

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They’ve known for decades what they’re doing. Here’s what you see on a walk on the west bank of the Mississippi river under the 35W bridge. Isn’t that an artfully framed photo? Thank you.

Short story: It’s a storm water tunnel project. Yep. That’s it. Not a subway, not a new underground bike path.

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There are others ongoing or planned over the next few years. They account for some of the downtown Minneapolis lane closures, as crews operating the giant derricks burrow below the cityscape to build the new tunnels. Look for the work to last until 2017.

The new pipes replace 1870s-era storm water pipes. The new pipes are larger and stronger than the old ones. The storm water they collect will go directly in the river.

The new pipes also separate the runoff from running into pipes carrying raw sewage.

You can guess what happens in a storm. Water rushing off streets and parking lots heads into the ancient collection pipes. The gush of storm water overwhelms and floods the system and in some cases sends untreated sewage into the FatherMotherParent of waters. Not pretty.

That changed big time beginning about sixteen years ago. Since then Minneapolis’ separation of storm water and untreated sewage has caused the icky overflows to plummet to near nothing.

The whole effort is costing millions, financed for the most part by sewer and storm water runoff fees paid by city residents.

No, a state government shutdown will not stop storms, storm water runoff, or tunnel construction.

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